Recently we were sent the new and recently launched Huawei E586 Three MiFi mobile broadband modem for a review. For those of you who don’t know exactly how this works, its essentially a simple portable device that provides its users internet access via a 3G data connection on the go. In many ways it is similar to that of 3G on your smartphone, the advantage of using a MiFi is that it enables more than one WiFi enabaled device to use the same connection at the same time.
The Huawei is lightweight (90g) and no bigger in size than the palm of your hands. Its always been made to a reasonable standard with a nice matte touch with a glossy front finish.
The Huawei E586 is extremely easy to use and requires only a few steps to get started. Once you’ve inserted your SIM, you’re ready to go. There are only two buttons on the modem, the bottom one being the on/off switch while the top one being the button for revealing WiFi network details.
Though small, the E586’s display shows useful info such as how much data you’ve used in total, reception, remaining battery as well as how many devices are connected via WiFi.
The claimed battery life on Three’s product page is 100 hours (standby), unfortunately during our testing this fell short, at approximately 80 hours.
Three claims the Huawei E586 to be the latest in tech yet with HSPA+, capable of 40% improved performance over previous MiFI modems. While the official numbers (up to 21.6 Mbps download and up to 5.76 Mbps) looked great, we felt as always highly skeptical of how likely we would achieve this. From our testing, we found both download and upload speeds highly variable and dependent on reception and whether the device was being used indoors or outdoors. As you can see in the screenshot, despite maximum reception (indoors), we could only achieve 0.97 Mbps, though this may not simply just represent a hardware issue as opposed to a combination of both hardware and network.
Whilst speeds are variable, we felt the lack of consistency meant the Huawei E586 would not be a suitable choice for those keen on watching video on iPlayer and YouTube for example, however it served well for less demanding tasks such as browsing the internet, social networking and emails.
Should I get one?
If you’ve not yet been to the product page on Three and checked out the various plans on offer, we would highly recommend you do. In our opinion, if you’ve never used a MiFi in the past and think you have the need for a device like it, we would suggest opting either for the pay as you go option or the one-month contract option as the rest do involve at least 18-month commitment and will be more expensive in the long run.
- Portable and lightweight
- Minimal setup required
- Easy to use interface
- Not always reliable, variable speeds dependent on network connection
- Can be expensive if tariff / plan not carefully chosen